A service for May 17th

Please note:

In writing and in checking this service, no links to you tube for the hymns had adverts. Should any appear as you go through the sewrvice please accept our apologies ... we do not endorse any products, neither are e being apid to advertise them.

There will be a service posted on Wednesday evening this week for Ascension Day (this Thursday) and additionally Michael is going to try recording a service of Communion for you to join in at home for Ascension Day. Watch this site for more information!!

 

A service for May 17th

 

Lets begin by being quiet and lighting a candle; a candle to remind us of Jesus the light of the world, of Jesus who guides us and is with us even in the darkest of times, of Jesus who is here for us.

Alleluia! Jesus lives.

 

OUR OPENING PRAYER

Gracious God, we come before you, drawn by the power of your welcoming love. We come with our sorrows and joys. We come with our expectations and apprehensions. We come with what we have done. We come as who we are. In your love we find peace and hope. Amen.

 

Our first hymn is Immortal Invisible. Its number 199, or you can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deLc8Egb0Js

 

READING: John 14 verses 15-21

Jesus said, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’

 

REFLECTION

If you could go back in history, when would you want to visit? Some of us may say, “We’d like to go back to when Jesus was on the earth, to listen to him so he could explain things to us, help us in our faith and we could support him.” And that is very laudable but if we think about it, the 4 gospels show us that there were a lot of people who questioned Jesus, and when the crunch came he was betrayed by one of his close followers, denied by another and deserted by the rest. What great support they were! Mark, in his gospel, even records Jesus mother and his brothers coming to see him to persuade him to stop and come home quietly with them.

But do we really need to go back Isn’t Jesus still with us? No he’s not physically in the same room, but he is very much with us spiritually, and he’s even kept the promise he made to his followers to send them a greater support; the Holy Spirit.

As we approach Ascension Day this Thursday so today we think about this promise of Jesus, to send us ‘an advocate’.

Of course our first question must be about how we will recognise this advocate. An Advocate stands up in a court of law and pleads for their client. Jesus sees his followers as often being on the wrong side of the Jewish law, persecuted for their faith in him, so he sends them someone to guide them as they speak on his behalf.

But Jesus’ advocate is more than this; he brings comfort and reassurance. So, though not visible we can still experience God and even today the Holy Spirit is still living and working amongst the Church, the living body of Jesus. We invoke him at times like Baptism, Confirmation, or Ordination; we ask for his guidance and help at times like Parochial Church Council meetings, Bible studies, when we choose a new Rector for our church or we consider whether we feel someone should be a Reader or an Authorised Worship Assistant. And the best thing about the Holy Spirit? He doesn’t let us down!

We can’t see God, we can’t prove he is there [as we can prove gravity] but we can experience him in our lives and if we are really honest we can recognise where he hasn’t let us down, where he has helped us.

Often we are concerned with talking about our faith. What happens, we ask, if someone asks us something we don’t have an answer to? For example, Why has God allowed the Coronavirus or why is there so much suffering and so many deaths happening through it? But people will accept we do not know the answers if we genuinely say so. If we let ourselves be led by the Holy Spirit then talking about our faith becomes so much easier. Indeed in the works of people supporting each other we see the Holy Spirit at work; in the coming together of communities, we see the Holy Spirit at work; in the scientists and researchers going down a particular path we see the Holy Spirit at work

God is invisible, in light inaccessible, hid from our eyes, as one hymn goes, yet we know that God is here and we can sense his presence.

 

A popular hymn at St Margaret’s is attributed to the work of St Francis. Its not in the red books so here are the words … or you can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_ufwqwquqY

 

Brother, sister, let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you;
 pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.

 

 We are pilgrims on a journey, and companions on the road;

 we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.

 

 I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear;
 I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.

 

 I will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
 I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through.

 

 When we sing to God in heaven we shall find such harmony,
 born of all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony.

 

 

A reflective way into our prayers:

The commands that Jesus urges us to keep, and that he showed us by example, are practical commands to love one another, to serve one another. The current lockdown and social distancing rules have resulted in many examples of love in action, and have highlighted situations crying out for love to be expressed in a practical way. Before moving into our prayers, just reflect on some examples you may be aware of from our town, from those in the street in which you live, or examples that we hear about in the news.

 

OUR PRAYERS

God of love, we are sorry that at times our love for you falters; that we have wrong priorities, and overlook your guidance. O God, forgive us and renew us.

Loving Saviour, we are sorry that we disobey your commandments; that we fail to love, and sometimes walk by on the other side. O God, forgive us and renew us.

Spirit of truth, we are sorry that we disregard your presence; that our thoughts and feelings are unrighteous, and that we so quickly follow the world’s way. O God, forgive us and renew us.

May your presence abiding in us lead us in the right way, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

For all that you are, we thank you, loving God. You make yourself known to us, and you are present in our lives even though we do not always recognise or acknowledge you. You do not leave us orphaned, but embrace us with parental love that encourages and comforts us. You ensure that we are not alone by filling us with your Spirit of truth, that inspires and empowers us. Thank you, Father, for your presence, your love and your encouragement. Amen.

 

Dear Lord, we bring into your love those who do not know you and your love; those who have turned away from you; those who struggle to accept you; those who refuse to listen. May your love touch them, and transform their lives.

Dear Lord, we bring into your love those who need parental love; those who are alone; those who are abused; those who are neglected. May your love touch them,
and transform their lives.

Dear Lord, we bring into your love those who seek the truth; those who work and advocate on behalf of the voiceless. May your love touch them, and transform their lives.

May we show the power and presence of your love in our church, our community and our world – for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

 

We say the Lord’s Prayer using whichever version you prefer.

 

Our final hymn reminds us that God is faithful. You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3dQX469ylk

Or sing it yourself:

 

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

 

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
  Morning by morning new mercies I see;
 All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
 “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

2

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

3

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

We conclude with our final prayer for today:

Lord let us live in love, to show your love, to receive your love, to share your love – everywhere, and at all times. Amen.

 

 




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